The Life and Times

Part 5: Of a good beginning cometh a good end.

Chapter 53

"To expostulate why day is day, night night, and time is time, 
were nothing but to waste night, day, and time"
Hamlet, Act ii, Sc.2

The next day Rodik swapped between cringing and muttering how sorry he was as he slyly looked around for orbs, and declaring the Charmed Ones had turned the Elders against him. Paige tried orbing up behind him a few times jut to scare him but even that lost its fun. So Piper went toP3 taking the children and was very concerned to find Reggie and Danny both withdrawn and ill at ease with her. Leo went to Vladivostok to try and negotiate with the brothel madam/succubus, the first time he had ever had to do so with Evil, leaving him with some regrets for the times when the enemy had been something to destroy on sight.

Phoebe went to work to write good advice on the importance of family and supporting each other and make faithful promises Cole would be at the work dinner tomorrow night every time Elise and the minion of evil Lori smirked at her. Paige pinched Cole's car and went to work to spend a long, exhausting and frustrating day discussing the finances of expanding the community centre with the archbishop. Cole went to court where he lost two cases because the DA's office, in his view, unfairly produced uncontradictable eye witnesses and had to watch his clients go to gaol, regretting not only he lost the cases but he wasn't going to get paid either.

Paige was the last one home because she went out for supper with two of her colleagues to discuss concerns about the money coming in from the archdiocese versus the expanded networks. She came in to find Leo and Cole watching basketball on TV and turned her nose up.

"Where is everyone?" she asked.

"Kid's are in bed." said Leo not taking his eyes off the screen; "Girls are in the attic waiting for you."

"Did you put the seat back in my car?" asked Cole.

"No" said Paige with a smirk "I need it tomorrow. When are you going to get off your backside and do something about Rodik?" she demanded as Cole watched TV.

"He'll get his one day" said Cole lolling back on the sofa watching the game "Its inevitable."

"Ha" said Paige "I want to know he gets what is coming."

"Just because you don't know it doesn't mean he doesn't get….. justice." Cole pointed out still watching the game.

"I'd like to know about it" said Paige still miffed.

"I think you just defined the difference between justice and vengeance," said Cole dryly sipping beer.

"How?" snorted Paige.

"Justice is when they receive due punishment for their sins. Vengeance is when you enjoy knowing they are hurting," Cole told her eyes still on the game.

"Shut up Cole" said Paige as she went upstairs.

"What has putting my car seat back got to do with getting Rodik?" Cole asked Leo.

"How long have you lived here?" said Leo not taking his eyes off the screen.

Leo and Cole watched the basketball for another 15 minutes and then they heard hysterical shrieking from the attic. They looked at each other. Leo orbed and Cole went to shimmer and remembered Rodik and ran up the stairs cursing him. When he got to the attic, Mark was leaning back on window arms crossed over a whitelighter robe and not-Casper/Kitchener was standing by the Book of Shadows, disapproval written all over his face.

Leo had Piper in his arms swinging her around and Phoebe and Paige where holding hands jumping up and down yelling.

"What," said Cole.

"Rodik's going , Rodik's," going" Phoebe shrieked grabbing Cole and hauling him into the dance.

Kitchener /Not-Casper watched them with dignified disapproval until they all stopped shrieking, feeling somewhat silly for their glee and not willing to let it go.

"Where's he going?" Leo finally asked a grin all over his face.

"England." shrieked Paige. clapping her hands with glee.

"When did we go to war with England?" snarked Piper, Leo still holding her in the air.

"We have him on a plane in tomorrow night," the whitelighter told them.

"Whose paying?" asked Piper as Leo put her down.

"We are if it gets rid of him" said Cole.

"Its arranged." Kitchener told them carefully.

"He is going economy isn't he " Phoebe asked innocently.

"I believe that's the norm" said Kitchener.

"Middle seat?" she asked hopefully.

"It depends how late you get him to the airport," Kitchener answered sombrely.

"Does he know?" Paige asked.

"I will explain the situation to him in a minute" said Kitchener primly trying to pretend he disapproved of their behaviour,  "There is one other thing I need to tell you."

"What?" said Piper."

"Bet it won't top that news," Phoebe said leaning back on Cole.

"I hope not" said Kitchener "I have asked to be ….given another assignment."

The witches glanced at each other.

"Oh" said Phoebe," I mean… I thought you…. I mean we were getting on okay."

"I mean" said Paige "you helped us. We worked pretty good , I mean…"

"I thought we had got some respect going for each other," said Piper.

"Thank you" said Kitchener with a sly smile that was not angelic.

The Charmed Ones all stood looking at him.

"Who's the new charge?" Leo asked wondering why Kitchener was looking smug. "Most whitelighters don't like giving upper echelon witches."

"Unless they're the Charmed Ones," said Mark softly.

"Did a darklighter get some-one?" asked Leo concerned.

"No" said Kitchener " Angela asked to be relieved of Rodik as charge and I offered to take him on but the truth is I am not Leo and I don't believe my patience would extend to dealing with Rodik and the Charmed Ones."

"Oh" said "Paige "But you don't like Rodik"

"No" agreed Kitchener.

"Rodik hates you"; said Piper.

"Yes," said Kitchener.

"You can't possibly think you could learn to love him as a charge," said Phoebe.

Kitchener shuddered visibly "No but I can tell you also truthfully that the Charmed Ones have taught me it isn't necessary to like or even love your charges to earn their respect. Which I believe I have," he added with humility that did not quite reach his eyes.

"Don't you like us?" Phoebe sniffed.

"I can say honestly "Kitchener replied "You are an acquired taste which when you try, can improve on acquaintance,".

"Or not, from what I have heard." said Mark gently.

"I mean you're the first, the only whitelighter we. sort of got on with since Leo got …dumped." said Paige wistfully.

"It s going to take quite an effort to respect any other whitelighter, going by past experience." Piper said crossing her arms.

"And vice versa" interrupted Mark.

Kitchener eyed him severely "I hope that you will make that effort to earn your next whitelighter's respect," he told the Charmed Ones.

"And vice versa" said Piper glaring at Mark. "Who " she demanded.

Kitchener smugly nodded towards Mark.

The witches froze.

"Oh" said Piper suspicious"

"Oh" sad Phoebe expectant.

"Oh" said Paige ecstatic.

Mark smiled wryly his soft grey eyes dancing.

"I believe it is my duty to explain the situation to Rodik" said Kitchener and started to orb while the witches looked a little ill at ease.

"Hope we see you soon" said Phoebe awkwardly.

"That would be good." said Paige uncomfortably.

Piper crossed her arms again "Kitchener," Piper with a superior smile called him back.

"Yes," he said dignified.

" You've been honest with us so I'll tell you something I know to help you deal with Rodik. Something I wouldn't normally tell a whitelighter." she said.

"What," he said suspiciously "How do you know this."

"Honestly, can't tell you" she explained to him as he frowned him. "If you have trouble with Rodik start crying."

"What good will that do?" Kitchener asked in disbelief.

"Trust me " Piper answered. "It'll help."

Kitchener thought about it "I trust you" he replied as he orbed.

The witches were left watching Mark who shrugged just a little uncomfortable "I'd like to say I got you as my first charges because they thought I was the best one but the truth is no-one else would touch you."

"I don't suppose you told them why you would touch them"  Cole asked snakily.

"They didn't ask. I didn't explain " Mark answered mildly "They were far more interested in how I could use karma to not let the whole family upset me."

"Its not unknown for new whitelighter to get older difficult charges " Leo explained "That's how I got Rodik ….got stuck with him."

"I was told there was a precedent" said Mark quietly but his grey eyes twinkled.

Paige smiled happily, besotted.

They all heard a wail come from Rodik's room.

"I guess he doesn't want to go to England." said Phoebe.

"Or doesn't want not-Casper," Paige said then she caught Mark's eyes narrow "Kitchener "she amended "as his whitelighter.

"You want to go down and listen outside Rodik's door suggested Piper with an evil smirk.

"Yes," said Leo angelically.

"Rodik's room is next to mine" said Paige to Mark with an arch smile. "We can talk or go somewhere we don't have to talk"

"I don't have all that much time " Mark sighed. "just time to talk."

"Okay "Smiled Paige happily "We have time now."

She turned and followed Piper and Phoebe and Leo downstairs.

As Mark went to follow Cole called him back.

Mark stopped, an expression of stubborn determination on his plain face. "I don't believe I'm interested in any more of your deals Cole," he said quietly "Regardless of the cost."

"That's good. I wasn't offering one" said Cole pursing his lips, blue eyes amused "Why didn't you tell Paige about the last one?"

"I love her" replied Mark calmly "And she loves you. But just so you know, you were right. Paige is a grown witch and I have limits on what I am prepared to do to protect her, to stop her from getting hurt."

"Good" said the guardian "And because that is good, there is something you should tell ..Casper, the ghost, what's his name."

"Kitchener " answered Mark mildly.

"Him" said Cole."

"What should he know?" Mark asked quietly, distrust in his voice.

"Rodik may not be so interested in getting powers any more, or getting witches killed." Cole told Mark with a slightly satisfied smile.

"He's lost his retrieving power. You took it," Mark said showing exasperation. "Whatever you think, that power is necessary to the battle Cole."

"To the Elders. Its not my battle " Cole answered in his guardian voice as Mark sucked on his lip "But its is not my role to change the balance or distribute powers. Rodik can retrieve, he just may need some encouragement, lots of encouragement , persuasion from now on."

"Why?" said Mark, "How am I supposed to explain that to Kitchener?"

"If I were you I'd just tell Kitchener when the opportunity arises, sometime when he won't connect it to me, you heard the ogres got to Rodik" Cole said."

"And why would you want me to tell him that?" Mark asked holding his ground.

"Because the whitelighter has been honourable about some things …. with me and Phoebe, and I don't like being in his debt," Cole the Guardian replied "Consider it a thank you from me for being honourable."

"He won't know it was from you " Mark murmured.

"That's not the point" said Cole smiling.


Cole came home from work very early the next afternoon, his and Phoebe's wedding anniversary. Life was good. Rodik would be gone from their lives tonight. He got a case thrown out of court , the woman who had been accused of trying to murder her abusive husband with an axe. True it was on a technicality but without technicalities justice would never be served and more importantly he would be unemployed.

He was so happy about it he sent Eduardo home, cancelling two appointments to fix wills and deciding to spend the rest of the day with his kids before doing his duty and going to Phoebe's work dinner to prove to Elise and any-one else who cared that he an Phoebe were happily married. Something he bitterly resented having to do on their wedding anniversary although his reward was going to be the very private anniversary celebration he and Phoebe had planned for after the dinner.

Piper was sitting at the kitchen table breast feeding Wyatt.

Melinda carefully put the kittens in a basket then flew to him...literally. Patsy watched her and then copied.  They hung off a pocket each side going through looking for treats.

Then sat down on to the rug on the floor to suck on chocolate. Piper and Cole watched, Piper amused, Cole nervous.

"That scares the hell out of me," Cole said.

"You're the expert on demonic core" Piper snipped.

"Shut up Pip" he aid pleasantly helping himself to a coffee.

"Big win or big loss," Piper asked recognising the signs.

"Got her right off on a technicality" Cole grinned.

"How in the hell would you practice law if it wasn't for technicalities," Piper demanded. "Did she pay?"

"Where's Leo?" Cole asked ignoring the question.

"Over sorting out the Vladivostok brothel madam again. Apparently Durand feels a certain immunity to succubus, says they aren't as fragile as other evil" said Piper calmly. "Are you sure he's not evil?"

"They keep telling me he knows right from wrong" Cole mock bowed. "Congratulations."

"Why?" asked Piper suspiciously"

"I've had to defend women on court for the way they reacted to statements like that," Cole told her.

"What?" said Piper.

"Their husband's sorting out brothel madams," he explained as Piper grinned.

"Where's Paige?" Cole hesitated. "Rodik gone," Cole asked hopefully.

 "Soon" Piper promised him. "Flight at 9.00."

" He needs to be at the airport by six then. Paige will be back in time to take Rodik to the air port? " he asked apprehensively. "Phoebe will never forgive me if I don't make it to that dinner."

"Call her if you're worried?" Piper said "Leo said he isn't coming back until he fixes up the succubus."

Cole grinned. "I'm leaving that alone."

"Good" said  Piper also grinning. "I have to go over to P3. Danny and Reggie want to talk to me. Reggie insisted I come over, some emergency he won't tell me about on the phone. Just waiting for a baby sitter. I have to go Cole, " she said as he pursed his lips.

"You sure Leo or Paige will be back before Phoebe and I have to go out for dinner," Cole insisted.

"You wouldn't dare not turn up to that dinner," said Piper.

"There is nothing that can stop me," said Cole.

"I'm packed. " sniffed Rodik from the door.

"Good." said Piper.

"Where is that … witch " he sniffed  again "She wants to make me miss that plane."

"I can positively guarantee that is not true. There is nothing on earth that would stop us getting you to that plane on time," said Piper as she put Wyatt over her shoulder to burp him.

Wyatt promptly threw up.

"That child is disgusting." sniffed Rodik.

Cole and Piper looked at each other and both grinned.

"Shut the fuck up" they said.

Rodik sniffed and stalked into the hall. They listened to him pacing.

"Where's Paige?" said Cole looking at his watch, and jumped as the phone rang.

Pipe picked it up. "Okay "She said. "Yes, sure , are you sure Paige, Okay. Its okay, Don't worry."

"What," said Cole.

"Your choice. Phoebe's job or Rodik going?" Piper said, wincing.

"Shit" said Cole.

"And you can live without a car can't you" Piper asked wincing even more. "Paige is okay " she added. "Demons blew yours up."

"Shit," said Cole.

Piper sat behind the table in P3. Opposite her sat Danny the music manager at P3 and one of the reasons it was surviving in the cut throat club business and the other reason, the club manager Reggie who for all his faults had a flair to be inventive, work well within limitations, mostly financial that Piper put on him and was well liked and respected by the staff. Reggie shuffled uncomfortable, drumming his fingers on the table. "Danny and I we, we have to talk to you, you see.:.." he tried to explain.

"What is it? " Piper asked trying to look in control and ignore the feeling her world was about to cave in.

Danny and Reggie exchanged glances and Danny took the plunge.

"Just," he said "On Monday I got approached by some-one, who owns one of the big new clubs over the other end of the town to take on a job, something like I do here,  music scout and manager, good money" he said and he named a figure that made Piper blanche.

"Funny thing was," said Reggie "I got an offer on Wednesday. Some place out in Vegas," Reggie said "Manage the club room, you want to guess which casino?"

"I can guess," said Piper grimly feeling the world spin.

Piper knew the club business was not renowned for the loyalty of its employees, and she had been in the business long enough to accept it , although P3 had not had a huge turnover in the last few years. In fact she had been expecting something like this sooner or later but it still hurt when it came.

Piper thought of the bill for fixing the conservatory. She thought how that they still hadn't found money to replace Paige's car and the phone call from Paige saying she had been attacked by three demons and while she had disposed of two, the third one blew up Cole's car before disappearing. She thought of the kid's non-existent college fund and Phoebe's problem's with Elise and the threats about her job.

"I understand." Piper  said business like, her soul numb. "And you know I can't match that sort of offer and if I tried the place would go under so…."

"Realistically" said Reggie "We, Danny and I have a pretty good understanding where this place is and we know that so we aren't asking you to match any offers."

"I understand." said Piper trying to keep the tension out of her voice " and I am not even going to try and talk you into staying."

"No you don't understand." said Danny "Its …you see Piper, I… we each decided maybe it wasn't such a good idea to accept the offers."

"Why not? "demanded Piper stunned.

Reggie bit his lip and glanced at Danny "You're not the only on who has an investment in P3 We've put in alot of ourselves in it. It's as much about us, and  the people who work here as you, and at least you accept that " he said "Which is why we think staying here is a good idea."

"The offer was too good." said Danny "You know I think it wasn't offering me a job, so much as getting me away from P3. I'm not a fool. I've been around the music business. The job would go when it had done it s purpose. Or you would have to sell your soul to keep it " he added. "I guess Piper, you don't ask that just because you pay me, I get to put my soul into the music here. Its my choice," he said.

"I have a good reason to stay here" Reggie explained. "Baby coming. Folks here, family here and I like what I do at P3. We got a house deposit and I get to run the club without interfering."

"You keep saying I interfere all the time," said Piper still reeling as she realised what they were saying.

"You interfere in a good way " Reggie explained uncomfortable.

Piper shook her head and grinned "Can I quote you to my sisters?" she asked.

"No" said Reggie firmly and Piper smiled. "We're telling you because…… you know it just seems these offers to Danny and me coming right when you refused that big offer on the restaurant. It seems to me…".

"Us," interrupted Danny.

"Us," agreed Reggie "That some-one is out to get you, wants to put you, wants to put us, put P3 out of business." He hesitated then said firmly. "You need to know."

"And we need to deal with it," added Danny.

"Forewarned is forearmed." said Piper, the numbness being replaced by a relief that made her feel sick. . She stood up " I… I... I thank you for telling me," she said. "I… I think you are right and Phoebe is right and we all need to…. be careful about things that seem to good."

"Its not just for you" Danny told her.

"This place isn't just about you " added Reggie.

"I understand." Piper told them "Thank you" she said feeling inadequate.

"Honestly, its isn't just for you "said Danny shrugging.

Piper called Paige from the office. "You okay " she asked. "I barely had time to ask."

"Yes," Paige answered "Although I think Cole pretty pissed about his car."

"He took Rodik to the airport," Piper asked. Her car had been the only available option for getting Rodik to the airport.

Paige murmured "Yes. Damned demons. It was almost like... they wanted a public fuss, attacking in front of all those people. If Darryl had not helped I'd still be at the police station explaining what happened."

"How was Phoebe? asked Piper carefully.

"Phoebe was …okay," Paige answered carefully "You know said Rodik going was more important than a lousy job so stuff Elise. She went to the dinner without Cole. She ordered him not to turn up at the dinner until he saw the plane  take off with Rodik on it. He promised ….reluctantly."

"He better get my car back unharmed." said Piper worried. "Damn Phoebe, she loves that job. I think she choses to be good just to piss me off sometimes."

"Me too" answered Paige. "Its weird," she continued Phoebe is in big trouble about her job and I could nearly have been in trouble in mine today."

"How?" said Piper really nervously.

"The archdiocese deal would have fallen through because of some things they were saying about how Mark used to manage the money and we could never get access to his computer but you know Mark told it me the password so it was okay" said Paige "But I felt almost set up by some-one, something that wouldn't know I could contact Mark, and the board have been got rid of me if I hadn't."

"Hmm" said Piper. "Some-one is trying to get Danny and Reggie to quit. They didn't."

"Hmmm" said Paige " we lost the cars and the bill's from Rodik will keep us broke and Phoebe may be screwed but at least a couple of things are working."

"Fate" said Piper "Good wins … just. And damn ogres and damn the great plan and damn Cole."

"He didn't invent the Great Plan" Paige pointed out.

"I wouldn't understand it if he wasn't around" snarled Piper.

"True" said Paige.


Tempus sat in the throne room of demondom, lost in thought. He had just listened to a long and complicated report on the steps being taken to destroy the Charmed Ones through financial destitution. Tempus always a subtle demon, could appreciate the complexity and irony of a scheme that used the accursed witches successes to break them; a plan to bring the younger sister undone because she did not know some sneaky financial arrangements made by her predecessor in her job and would make unwise decisions; and a plan to destroy the success of the Elder sister's club.

He had particularly enjoyed the report that the evil worked on those who employed the damnable Belthezor's witch was about to succeed. His minions assured him that the steps had peen put into place that would leave her unemployed and unemployable by this night. However Tempus was also a demon of considerable wisdom and he knew that the problem with subtlety when dealing with Good was that Good were not always predictable because of their damnable habits of occasionally acting honourably and incomprehensibly quixotic.

So even if Belthezor's witch would be financially ruined this night it wasn't enough. Tempus was still a demon and a harbinger of Great Evil and he hated Belthezor's witch and part of him wanted the satisfaction of a quick and easy vanquishment, of watching her destroyed, blasted apart in agony.

He hated her. She had been the thorn in his side for years. She was his nemi…. And he stopped, before he could think the word and shuddered uncontrollably for a second or maybe an eternity. Tempus had been frightened as only demons from sludges to Sources could fear, that he would find his nemesis, his ending in the eclipse but he had not and with some relief he had listened to a high priest reported the eclipse would end in the next hours.

Then suddenly  as a fearful thought intruded into his that head he already knew his nemesis, Tempus found himself swept away in the tide of the spirit winds. Swept away feeling like he was drowning and crying for help when no help would or could come.

When he finally escaped the swirling winds he recognised his future self was in a cavern,  not in the underground but in one of the central magic realms. It was a great crystal cave where the reflected light hurt him with a pain which seemed to rip his whole body and spirit apart and dissect it and he was helpless to resist.

He was trapped and drowning, caught between a ring of crystals. In the mirrored reflection of the crystal cavern he could see himself screaming in agony, twisting, fighting, hands thrown in the air fingers contracted in agony as his inner core exploded within, lost, alone far from demonic help.

Then in the reflected crystal light he saw three witches, dressed in transparent robes that seemed to drag the of light from the crystal. Tempus' future self recognised them as sister witches of the Warren clan and both his future and present selves cursed them and their line as they held hands and chanted.

"Prudence, Penelope, Patricia, Melinda..
Piper, Paige ,Phoebe
Ashford, Helen, Laura and Grace..
Jenna, Jenna Elisa Rebel
Sister witches come to this place.
"Vanquish this evil.."
"From time and space."

The witches chanted, frightened but gaining courage, through the Power of their family. As the hated name of Belthezor's witch reverberated from the crystal walls, through his pain Tempus saw the great book the Grimoire lying on its side on the cavern floor. And in the agonising moments of what was to be his end, Tempus saw the mortal form of the demon Belthezor dressed in some dark robe-like clothing standing near the fallen book.

Tempus hated him, loathed him, loathed his mocking smile and brilliant blue eyes reflected bluer and more iridescent in the crystal light,

"The light the light the light," Tempus screamed. It hurt him, it defeated him, it destroyed him.

Belthezor winced as he watched Tempus demise. In his pain, in his agony Tempus called the evil spirits, he called the great powers of the source, he fought in the face of the sympathy at his predicament that to Tempus great agony showed in those blue eyes.

As he saw the light in the brilliant blue eye, in his hatred of Belthezor's powerful humanity, Tempus reaching into his own great demonic power was able to rise above the pull of the crystal circle that trapped him and half free himself and he laughed maniacally. He turned his great power on the witches who dared to trap him and knocked one of the sisters unconscious and the power of the crystal cage began to fail.

The two remaining witches huddling together trying to protect their fallen sister. They chanted the name of their ancestors and they called the name of the hated witch ancestor , the name of Belthezor's witch. They called her name again and again and Tempus turned to them finding the power to strike her name from their lips.

Tempus hated her. He screamed her name and the hatred all but freed him from the crystals and he faced the frightened witches.

They called her name again and to Tempus great pain she seemed to materialise beside Belthezor, at first a part of the crystal light and then materialising in mortal form. Small, dark haired, big, big brown eyes, long translucent robe , swirling as if the spirit winds held her safe.

Tempus screamed her name again as he saw her. He hated her, hated her beyond a bearing. She smiled toward Belthezor, smiling as the girl woman she had always been. She reached for a second to touch Belthezor's face then moved to stand with her sister witches.

She caught hands with them and joined their chant and her power joined with theirs and connected and merged the powers of the Warren ancestors and Tempus was pulled back into the crystal circle and the fire caught him and this time as his spirit exploded, there was no escape.

Spirit, ghost, mortal, witch, Tempus not far from the end hated Belthezor's witch in any form, hated her as he had hated her 500 years earlier when she had thwarted his plan to kill the Charmed Ones; hated her as he had when she had stopped him from finding the Grimoire when he first led demondom, hated her for the love she had for the demon Belthezor and the power it had given his enemy; hated her because Tempus knew she tempted Belthezor to the role of Ogre who haunted the 500 years of Tempus reign and called it justice; hated her because she spawned the cause of his defeat in Africa; hated her when in the late years of his reign with final victory of evil in his grasp she came venturing from the spirit winds to rally her sister witches; hated her in his final moments as she joined with her sisters and called on the power of her ancestors and found the power to vanquish him and his spirit ,obliterate him, destroy him; Tempus hated her when she smiled with satisfaction as she sent him to his final abyss.

As the winds caught him and sucked him away she crossed to the demon, ogre, lover ,Belthezor as he picked up the Grimoire.

"You sure you know how destroy his evil " she demanded. "Make sure you destroy the right parts." she ordered Belthezor.

"Its good to know you never change Phoebe" said Belthezor amused. Then he pulled her into his arms and kissed her as the sister witches, bent over their unconscious sister watched astounded. "I know what to do." Belthezor told her breaking the kiss " Arturo told me how 500 years ago. "

His witch put her head on her side, big brown eyes wide and she giggled. "I promised you I'd never change," she said.

"God I love you " Belthezor told his witch and moved toward the Grimoire.

The last thing Tempus would see would be Belthezor, a soft bright eyed smile lighting his face with the love he felt for the witch, the bitch, the nemesis, reach for the Grimoire to destroy all traces of the great evil Tempus had been.

As the Tempus of the future was torn apart, the Tempus of the present was dragged back to where the source of all evil, greatest demon of his age, greatest evil being in the realm sat on the edge of his throne racked for breath as her realised his ending was written. He could not change it. He would be caught by his nemesis as all Sources before him had been caught by theirs.

"Nooooooooooooooooooo" he screamed "Noooooooooooooooooo."

Tempus stood leaning against a pillar in his empty throne room, finding his composure as he took in the air of his realm. It would not happen. It was a dream. It could not happen because Belthezor was gone, destroyed by the bitch, destroyed by his witch.

Tempus saw it there near the Grimoire, the great book of demon deeds, the hideous record  of demonic evil that was the source of all knowledge of demon deeds both in the realms of good and evil.

Tempus would make sure that to the world of demondom, Belthezor never existed. There would be no record in the Book of Deeds or in the witches' Books of Shadows that took their knowledge from it.

Tempus flung open the Book of Deeds. He came to the name of Belthezor and ripped out the page and burnt it with his flame power. Destroying all records of deeds of the demon Belthezor he committed to legend the rival who he knew in the end would be the witness to his demise.

How Tempus hated that demon Belthezor and his witch.

He would destroy the witch, as he destroyed her lover's records, burn her, rip her apart. He would find a way, he would let the rat brothers break her, he would ruin her mortal life. It was a dream he told himself, she mortal that she was, could not appear as his nemesis 500 years in the future. It was not written, he would change it. He would damn her to the mores of hell, tempt her to evil, change time. There was no nemesis, she would not destroy him.

Yet as his hatred of her consumed him Tempus watching the smouldering ash in the Book of Deeds knew in the deepest core of his demon spirit, as all his predecessors, had known that his fate was written. In the end no matter how subtle his plans, how clever his evil, he would fail and fall to Greatness of Good at the hands of his nemesis.